Pro Syrian forces and militias allied to the Syrian government will enter the Afrin region within hours, state media reported on Monday, after a reported deal to allegedly help Kurdish forces repel a Turkish assault.
"SDF and Syria have reached an agreement," Sheikho Bilo, an official from the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Unity Party, told Kurdish news outlet Rudaw on Sunday.
“Syrian forces will arrive in Afrin in the next few hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region,” Syria's state news agency SANA reported today, citing its correspondent in Aleppo.
Turkey and allied Syrian rebel groups launched an offensive in the northwestern region to drive out the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara sees as a terrorist group linked to an insurgency at home.
However, Brusk Hasake, a spokesperson for YPG in Afrin has said the Syrian Arab Army will not enter Afrin and denied an agreement has been made between YPG and Damascus. "We have repeatedly said that Syrian Army has not entered [and] will not enter Afrin. If there is an agreement we will make a statement [on it]."
The Turkish foreign minister responded with this statement: "We will have no problem if the Assad regime plans to enter Afrin to fight PKK/YPG, but if the regime tries to protect the terrorists, then no one can stop Turkish forces."
The battlefield in northern Syria is complicated by a web of rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russia.
Turkey and its president Erdogan hoped to contain the incursion into Afrin as a local fight between The turkish army and its Free Syrian army allies against the Kurdish YPG.
However this latest development could potentially see Syrian militias and regular army troops deployed against regular Turkish soldiers and Turkish backed militias in a pitched battle over control of the Afrin enclave in northen Syria.